The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) has issued updated responses to two Healthwatch Bucks reports.

In two letters to Healthwatch Bucks, Philippa Baker, Place Director for Buckinghamshire, thanked us for our research on awareness of and experiences of social prescribing services.

She said:

Your recommendations have provided a vital perspective and have allowed us to maximise the impact of our social prescribing services in Buckinghamshire.

Making a difference

The correspondence from BOB ICB clearly shows the impact of our work.

It makes clear the variety of steps the ICB has taken to help improve awareness of social prescribing, and to ensure people’s experiences of the service are good.

Among these are:

  • An audit of GP practices’ websites in March 2023. This found 15 surgeries now mention social prescribing on their website. Those that still don’t carry content about social prescribing will receive ongoing support.
  • Work with Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to provide promotional materials and create a toolkit that will make it easier to communicate with people about social prescribing.
  • Work with Buckinghamshire Council and community groups to help promote social prescribing.
  • Pilot schemes that target individuals with specific, often age-related, health conditions. This action links to our recommendation that social prescribing services should be promoted among people aged over 56.
  • Work with Buckinghamshire Council to take the Buckinghamshire Community Transport Hub online, and ensure that social prescribers are aware of transport issues that might affect people.
  • 4 PCNs now hold weekly coffee mornings. This is in line with our recommendation that ‘talking cafes’ can allow for the provision of peer support, as well as direct help from the social prescriber.

Improving local services

Zoe McIntosh, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Bucks, says:

These projects – and the follow-up work that has been done as a result of our recommendations – are a brilliant demonstration of how Healthwatch Bucks makes a difference to local health and social care services. Small changes can have a huge impact on the day-to-day experiences of Buckinghamshire residents. By working with BOB ICB, we’ve helped to make sure that social prescribing services will keep evolving in line with what people need.


Update from BOB ICB on Awareness of social prescribing

Update from BOB ICB on Experiences of social prescribing

Published on 27 Apr, 2023 (updated 3 Jun, 2024)

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